Possibly due to the trip to the Camera Obscura in Edinburgh or possibly the unfinished Dodo project inspired me to request a wooden construction kit as a Christmas present. It was a fun kit to assemble and the end results are fabulous.
The magician is described as an advanced kit and it did throw up a few challenges. The first is that there are several components that are very similar, particularly the pins and rods. The kit contains a paper ruler which I definitely recommend using if you don’t have your own to hand. The kit also contains glue, sandpaper, wax, instructions and some paper glue guards. This is pretty much all you need to assemble it although a square would come in handy.
The instructions are mostly clear although the assembly of the main cam shaft threw me and I’m managed to assemble it backwards. After some googling I used steam from the kettle to loosen the glue and allow me to reassemble it correctly.
My other errors were not getting the base connection to the front panel quite square in step 5 and getting the 52mm and 48mm dowels muddled up in step 6. The linkages took a few attempts to get positioned right but I worked it out eventually. I did have to trim the end of one of the rods with a jr hacksaw as it was binding on the side of the table.
As you get near the end of the assembly it is worth doing some dry fits to ensure everything runs smoothly. You can add more wax and sand components to fit so that it all runs smoothly. There are also more assembly tips at Timberkits Assembly Tips which having watched retrospectively I can wholeheartedly recommend as you get a good view of the mechanism from several angles to compare with your own. I might not have made the error with the cams if I’d watched that.
The mechanism is ingenious with a combination of a cam and a linkage to make the arms move out in opposite directions. And the geneva mechanism is a joy to watch.
So my assembly was far from perfect but it does still run and the magician performs his trick.